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Work in Spain

With nearly 400,000 UK citizens currently living in Spain, according to a recent study by Eurostat, saying adios to rainy old Britain is a very popular choice

Job market in Spain

Spain has a strong tourism industry, with 60 million visitors arriving each year. Cataluña is Spain's most popular destination, followed by the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and Andalucía. With a high percentage of British tourists visiting Spain during the summer months, there is always a need for English-speaking workers in many of the hotspots.

According to the National Statistics Institute, the unemployment rate hit a record high of 5.64 million in March 2012 - almost a quarter of the working population.

However, in Spain's largest region, Castilla y León, some sectors increased recruitment last year. This provided more jobs for:

  • personal care workers;
  • creative and performing artists;
  • chefs;
  • construction labourers.

Job vacancies

To find out which sectors need workers, use the region-specific search on EURES Job Search .

For the latest skilled jobs in Spain, search Xpat Jobs - Spain .

Work experience and internships in Spain

In Spain, work experience is held in high regard. Before applying for graduate positions, students are expected to have completed two to three years of work experience.

If you're interested in training to teach English, then consider the Barcelona-based academy TEFL Iberia.

You can apply to work as an English language assistant through the British Council - Language Assistants in Spain .

Internships and summer work placements for students can also be arranged by:

  • AIESEC UK  - for students and recent graduates;
  • IAESTE UK  - for science, engineering and applied arts students.

Volunteering in Spain

Voluntary work has become an increasingly popular option for graduates looking for work experience. Not only will it put your language skills to the test and help you understand Spanish culture, it will provide you with an opportunity to make important contacts and look fantastic on your CV.

The European Commission (EC) funds a scheme called The European Voluntary Service (EVS) , which is aimed at people aged 18 to 30 wishing to volunteer abroad. It offers young people the chance to volunteer for up to 12 months in a number of European and non-European countries.

Opportunities vary from placements concerned with sport and culture to others focused on social care and the environment. For successful applicants, accommodation, travel, food and insurance are all covered by a European grant and you even receive a personal allowance each month.

Language requirements

If you do not have a strong grasp of Spanish then jobs can be hard to find, other than jobs in the expat community or in the tourist areas.

There are lots of Spanish-speaking courses in the UK and many good websites exist to help you learn a language or improve your skills. To get your Spanish up to scratch, visit

Spanish visas and immigration

According to the EC, European Union (EU) citizens have the right to:

  • move to another EU country to work without a work permit;
  • enjoy equal treatment with nationals in access to employment, working conditions and all other social and tax advantages;
  • stay in the country even after employment has finished.

For more information and to check what conditions and restrictions apply, see:

EU nationals may also be entitled to have certain types of health and social security coverage transferred to the country in which they go to seek work. For country-specific information on social security entitlements, see European Commission - Your Rights Country by Country .

Depending on your occupation, your qualifications may be recognised in some countries. To find out more, visit Europa - Qualifications for Employment .


Further information

Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects
May 2012

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